Darryl Issa, “Champion”

The NYTimes has a rather terrifying investigative article on the many ways in which “A Businessman in Congress Helps His District and Himself“:

VISTA, Calif. — Here on the third floor of a gleaming office building overlooking a golf course in the rugged foothills north of San Diego, Darrell Issa, the entrepreneur, oversees the hub of a growing financial empire worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
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Just a few steps down the hall, Representative Darrell Issa, the powerful Republican congressman, runs the local district office where his constituents come for help.
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The proximity of the two offices reflects Mr. Issa’s dual careers, a meshing of public and private interests rarely seen in government.
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Most wealthy members of Congress push their financial activities to the side, with many even placing them in blind trusts to avoid appearances of conflicts of interest. But Mr. Issa (pronounced EYE-suh), one of Washington’s richest lawmakers, may be alone in the hands-on role he has played in overseeing a remarkable array of outside business interests since his election in 2000.
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Even as he has built a reputation as a forceful Congressional advocate for business, Mr. Issa has bought up office buildings, split a holding company into separate multimillion-dollar businesses, started an insurance company, traded hundreds of millions of dollars in securities, invested in overseas funds, retained an interest in his auto-alarm company and built up a family foundation.
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As his private wealth and public power have grown, so too has the overlap between his private and business lives, with at least some of the congressman’s government actions helping to make a rich man even richer and raising the potential for conflicts…

In case you’ve forgotten why Rep. Issa is any more important than every other Republican thug currently at large in the Capital, here’s Steve Benen’s explanation, from the Washington Monthly, way back in January:

GETTING TO KNOW DARRELL ISSA…. The new chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is, of course, Rep. Darrell Issa, a far-right California Republican. As we’ve seen in recent months, Issa is set to make quite a name for himself — he’s accused President Obama of being “one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times”; he’s asked business leaders to set his regulatory agenda for him; and he’s signaled an interest in launching a series of White House witch-hunts.
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But before we get annoyed by where Issa’s going, it’s worth pausing to appreciate where he’s been. In a fascinating piece for the New Yorker, Ryan Lizza takes a close look at Issa’s rise to great wealth and political power and some of the “troubles” the right-wing congressman has had along the way.

Many politicians have committed indiscretions in earlier years: maybe they had an affair or hired an illegal immigrant as a nanny. Issa, it turned out, had, among other things, been indicted for stealing a car, arrested for carrying a concealed weapon, and accused by former associates of burning down a building.

Yes, the man House Republicans have tasked with investigating potential White House wrongdoing spent a fair amount of his adult life as an apparent criminal…

When it comes to Republicans, it’s always projection, isn’t it?






48 replies
  1. 1
    MattF says:

    It’s not projection, it’s expertise.

  2. 2
    cathyx says:

    Who better to investigate wrongdoing than an expert at it?

  3. 3
    Groucho Marxist says:

    “But Mr. Issa (pronounced ASS-hole)…”

    Fixed that for them.

  4. 4
    Zifnab says:

    Many politicians have committed indiscretions in earlier years: maybe they had an affair or hired an illegal immigrant as a nanny. Issa, it turned out, had, among other things, been indicted for stealing a car, arrested for carrying a concealed weapon, and accused by former associates of burning down a building.

    Thug life!

    Doesn’t California have some kind of Three-Strikes law that’s specifically designed to keep guys like him from ever getting out of jail?

  5. 5
    Paul in KY says:

    I was going to write some snarky comment, but MattF has done outsnarked me. Well played, sir.

  6. 6
    R-Jud says:

    OT, but speaking of wrongdoing:

    The Guardian’s James Robinson says the letter from ex-royal editor Clive Goodman is one of the most critical pieces of evidence… If proven to be accurate, it suggests a large-scale cover-up at News International which had maintained for nearly four years that phone-hacking was the work of “one rogue reporter” – Goodman.

  7. 7
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Darrel Issa: projection on the order of the entire octoplex down at the mall over Memorial Day weekend.

  8. 8
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    And that’s how all of the Legislators here in the great state of Texas work. I know we’re not the only state that does that, but it really does explain quite a bit about the state.

  9. 9
    Lurking Canadian says:

    Well, if there’s anybody in Washington who should know what corruption looks like, Issa is definitely that man.

  10. 10
    Teak111 says:

    Lets not forget, Issa single-handedly financed the recall of Gov Grey Davis in CA after Davis signed some energy contracts to avoid further rolling blackouts during the Enron meltdown. Well, of course Issa thought he was going to get to be the next Gov, after all he was financing the whole thing, but Arnold S, tested better and won the nomination. Issa was pissed, but Der Party, promised him a handsome reward, and there you have it, Chairmen the House Oversight Committee, not to mention a dead ringer for Michael Corleone.

  11. 11
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    So if Darryl Issa is elected president, will Hail to the Chief be replaced by theme song of The Sopranos or the Godfather theme song?

  12. 12
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Of course, if you recall, Issa was going to run wild with the oversight committee, holding hearings, putting the feet of Obama’s cronies to the fire, etc.

    None of that has happened, apparently because Issa is way too busy running his businesses to attend to any actual oversight committee work.

  13. 13
    Jewish Steel says:

    Darrel Issa after seeing the NYT article:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....re=related

  14. 14
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee:

    The replacement for “Hail to the Chief” will be the highest bidder. The same for the naming rights to the United States of America.

  15. 15
    rikyrah says:

    his ass should be in jail for running over that woman in CA

  16. 16
    Steeplejack says:

    O/T, but I just saw an interesting listing in my cable program guide:

    Savage Pampas (1966). An Army captain in Argentina learns why his lonely men are deserting to an outlaw’s gaucho gang.

    Carry on.

  17. 17

    Let’s not bicker and argue over who stole what from who.

  18. 18
    Zifnab says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    None of that has happened, apparently because Issa is way too busy running his businesses to attend to any actual oversight committee work.

    Issa doesn’t have a lot of dirt to dig up, I imagine. He’s been on the ATF stupidity – the gun-runner sting that ended up dumping more guns into Mexico than it caught. And he’s tried to leverage that into an attack on Holder in the DoJ. But that’s the biggest bone he’s had to chew on.

  19. 19
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    spent is spending a fair amount of his adult life as an apparent criminal…

    fix’d

  20. 20
    agrippa says:

    Projection is a good word. It works.
    Issa is a criminal. He, simply, has not been convicted.

  21. 21
    amk says:

    teh amurikan capitalism at its best – take the public fucking money and build yourselves cool roads to your fucking private offices where the same fucking stupid public can drive up in their stupid little cars to your congressional office to gripe about that kenyan soshalist muslin.

    Only in amurika.

  22. 22
    wilfred says:

    Another interesting fact about Issa is that he was the target of a planned domestic terrorist attack, because of his temerity in criticizing the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and outright opposition to ultra right-wing policies taken as givens by most of the Democratic/Republican ‘leadership’. He’s also an Arab, which makes him a sure target for a dynamic Times exposé.

    Diane Feinstein sat for years on the Senate Ethics Committee while her Daddy Warbucks husband angled for millions in defense contracts.

    But what the fuck, right?

  23. 23
    Bruce S says:

    FWIW – Issa has also lied about his military record, claiming he provided security for President Nixon as a bomb expert at the 1971 World Series. Nixon wasn’t at the ’71 Series and Issa was elsewhere at some menial job. He operates like a petty hustler & crook who has made it big. Actually, take the “operates like” out of that sentence and replace with “is.”

    It’s about time some light shines on Issa’s corrupt ass. The guy is a total douchebag – we’ve also got him to thank for Arnold in CA, since he was behind that idiotic recall.

  24. 24
    japa21 says:

    Look folks. This is all pretty tame stuff. I mean, it’s not like he palled around with teorrists or anything really bad, right?

  25. 25
    Culture of Truth says:

    @Thoughtful Black Co-Citizen: Exactly! Who among us hasn’t been indicted for a felony, or two?

  26. 26
    Citizen_X says:

    @wilfred: You do realize that people who criticize Israel can be corrupt car thieves too, don’t you?

  27. 27
    wilfred says:

    @Citizen_X:

    Sure. In the same way lots of otherwise good liberals can support illegal wars, invasions and drone strikes that kill children.

    Everybody’s a hypocrite to a certain extent – why not say so?

  28. 28
    Yutsano says:

    Issa is in a gerrymandered safe district. Removing him will be nigh to impossible. And he obviously doesn’t possess the shame to resign on his own.

  29. 29
    Jennifer says:

    Issa investigating corruption is like Jim Jones overseeing investigations into food adulteration for the FDA.

  30. 30

    @wilfred: Hi there wilfred, long time no see. Here’s a clue, because occasionally you’re a tiny notch above the other trolls here: Some people might actually sympathize with your views on the arab-israeli conflict if you weren’t so far out in cuckoo tinfoil-hat conspiracy theory land.

  31. 31
    KG says:

    @Yutsano: not much longer, the new districts are going to be quite competitive since we’ve not got an independent commission drawing the lines. His district is getting sliced up and rightly put into multiple districts.

  32. 32
    gnomedad says:

    @amk:
    Win.

  33. 33

    And Issa is calling for the whaaaaambulance:

    Issa’s office slams NYT ‘hit piece’
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    By Justin Sink – 08/15/11 12:28 PM ET
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    Rep. Darrell Issa’s (R-Calif.) office has dismissed an article in The New York Times about his work in Washington as a “hit piece.”
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    In a memo released Monday, Issa’s office slammed the article, which examined connections between Issa’s private business interests and his work as a congressional leader.
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    “The New York Times piece is riddled with factual errors and careless assertions that has resulted in a story predicated on innuendo and not fact,” said Frederick R. Hill, an Issa spokesman.
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    “It’s disappointing that the so-called ‘paper of record’ has decided to publish a story that is nothing more than a compilation of left-wing blog posts that are easily found by a simple Google search.”

    Guess they hit a nerve …

  34. 34
    Culture of Truth says:

    yes I must give credit to the NYT for this front-pager. Good journalism, which they still do.

  35. 35
    Citizen_X says:

    @wilfred:

    Everybody’s a hypocrite to a certain extent – why not say so?

    Um, because not everybody’s a fucking criminal?

    And even ignoring his past and his corruption, if you can get beyond single-issue mania and just weigh his anti-neocon views very heavily, his record is still pretty awful for liberals.

  36. 36

    Comments on The Hill piece I linked to above are very telling. For example:

    NYT is obama’s pravda along with CNN,CBS,ABC,NBC ,Wash Post and all the rest of the commies. Without Fox this country would get no truth even though Fox spins for the Repub at least they get much closer to the others. You never thought that the media would be so into the libs that the truth wouldn’t matter at all to them. Hollywood and the Jews are worse if that is possible. Tom Hanks…kiss my azz.
    __
    BY PAUL on 08/15/2011 at 14:21

    Ah yes The Joooooooz it always comes back to The Joooooooz. Right wingers are such hateful little monsters, they just can’t help themselves. But they sure loves them some Israel! Just hate the people who live there.

  37. 37
    Citizen_X says:

    @Southern Beale:

    a story that is nothing more than a compilation of left-wing blog posts that are easily found by a simple Google search.

    Ah hahaha! “Ignore all Congressman Issa’s indiscretions, which can be found all over the web.”

  38. 38
    jl says:

    Had to read the article very quickly, but what Issa does sounds pretty old school Tammany Hall type corruption. I didn’t see anything about bribes and overt kickbacks, or call girls, or bags full of cash handed off in dark deserted hallways.

    This stuff is along the lines of McCain recent habit of, somehow or other, just happening to know about really good deals on government land sales for his buds.

    As George Washington Plunkitt said: honest graft, where you see your opportunities and you take them.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G.....n_Plunkitt

    A lot of Plunkitt’s honest graft went to poor people, as Mr. Plunkitt found a little political machine, or spare public, change for somebody’s funeral, or operation, or for a little job for the unemployed. Issa and McCain do not consider these losers worth any honest graft money at all, they themselves and their rich buddies are worthy.

    And Plunkitt was straightforward about his ‘honest graft’ While Issa and McCain are not.

    So, there are some teeny differences between the likes of McCain and Issa though.

    I guess a better term for this modern mutation of reverse Robin Hood machine politics would be ‘dishonest honest graft’.

    (I edited a little for clarity)

  39. 39
    WereBear says:

    For Issa, it’s obvious corruption goes hand-in-hand with success. Thus, President Obama must be soooooooooooooooo corrupt.

    Done.

  40. 40
    trollhattan says:

    Ladies and germs: your modern California Republican party.

    Like Texas needs to lecture us on the joys of Free Enterprise(tm) through anarchy.

    Is Issa still the richest House member or has somebody in the 112th sipped his milkshake?

  41. 41
    JRon says:

    Ryan Lizza is kicking ass on some of these New Yorker profiles. This one, the Bachmann one. Good on him.

  42. 42
    rea says:

    -Democrats go to Congress hoping to do good.

    -Republicans go to Congress hoping to do well.

  43. 43
    Emerald says:

    @efgoldman: Alas, the redistricting may take out Bilbray (now festering in Duke Cunningham’s old district just to the south), but Issa looks safe. The district goes way inland and covers scarlet territory. It was shaved down a bit, but not enough to change anything.

    I am, to my eternal shame, a constituent. I see no chance whatever of dumping the slimeball. He always wins with 2/3 of the vote. Normally you don’t even know the name of his opponent until you see the ballot.

    His latest little gambit is getting an earmark (possibly the last ever allowed by the Republicans) to widen a street near me: Vista Way. I’m on Vista Way all the time. It’s in great shape. Just resurfaced down by my area, and it looks marvelous. Doesn’t normally get clogged up, except for folks trying to make left turns.

    We have numerous streets here in Oceanside that desperately need widening–that mess out by the 76 and Mission Blvd has screaming for attention for decades. But no, it has to be already beautiful Vista Way.

    Note: Issa owns three businesses on Vista Way. One of them is the building housing the local Hooters.

  44. 44
    trollhattan says:

    @Emerald:

    Note: Issa owns three businesses on Vista Way. One of them is the building housing the local Hooters.

    Gosh, there you go making me like him. /snark

  45. 45
    Emerald says:

    @trollhattan: Actually while that building was under construction, we all kept wondering what it would turn out to be.

    As soon as they finished it: Hooters.

    I doubt he owns the franchise. Just the building.

  46. 46
    Hal says:

    @Teak111:

    Lets not forget, Issa single-handedly financed the recall of Gov Grey Davis in CA after Davis signed some energy contracts to avoid further rolling blackouts during the Enron meltdown.

    I remember this. The recall effort was, IIRC, a handful of people until Issa came along, obviously trying to muscle into the Governor’s seat. I remember thinking then it seemed unethical to fund a recall effort when you yourself were going to run, so the guys been up to this crap for a long time.

  47. 47
    Snarla says:

    It’s his name and he can pronounce it however he wants to, but it’s EE-suh and it’s spelled عيسى.

  48. 48
    marginalized for stating documented facts says:

    This guy is the real deal, a modern-day Boss Tweed.

    He’s a classic San Diego product, like the most corrupt and vicious people Nixon gathered around him. San Diego has long been infamous as the center of white collar crime in America. All the biggest outcall prostitution rings are centered in San Diego. San Ysidro, the busiest land border crossing in the world, is the hub for all the drug cartels and “plata e plomo” DEA and ICE bribery and corruption in America.

    San Diego is a festering sinkhole of kickbacks and bribery and scams and ripoffs, a place where the entire city council and the mayor were indicted for taking bribes for ACE Parking in 1967, a city in which C. Arnholt Smith received a special award as “Mr. San Diego of the Century” one month before he got indicted (and eventually convicted) on fraud charges.

    Daryl Issa is the new Mr. San Diego of the century. He’s a potential H.R. Haldeman, an Egil Krogh for the 21st century. This guy is truly, genuinely scary.

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